Using Video Routers & HDMI Matrix Switchers
A video router is a distinct type of professional video switcher. You can use video routers for various applications in many situations to simplify the task of sending multiple video or audio source inputs to one or more display outputs.
What Is a Video Router?
A video router is an electronic switch designed to route video signals. Routers are like professional video distribution amplifiers in that they both distribute video signals. The difference between a distribution amplifier (DA) and a router is that a DA splits one incoming video source to multiple outputs while a router uses a matrix system to distribute any number of incoming sources to any number of outputs. This is why video routers are called video matrix switchers. A video router is classified by the number of inputs and outputs that it can handle. For example, an 8 x 8 video router accepts eight inputs and routes any of them to eight outputs.
Types of Video Switchers
The term professional video switcher refers to a broad category of equipment, all with the same basic function. Similar to when you change the channel on your TV with your remote, a switcher changes (switches) channels (inputs) to display something different onto a projector, screen, or TV. There are three main types of video switchers to consider, namely video mixers, video routers, and switch boxes.
A video mixer or vision mixer refers to the professional video switchers used in television studios and audiovisual presentations. This type of switcher handles multiple inputs and independently switches them to one output. Video mixers also have built-in transitions and mixing effects, primarily used for live switching applications. These range from basic HDMI switchers to full-featured production switchers.
Although video routers don't have built-in effects, they outperform video mixers with multiple output capability. Sports bars use routers, easily distributing multiple sources to multiple displays simultaneously, allowing you to see any game on any TV with the push of a few buttons. You can control routers with the integrated front panel or have them customized with professional video router accessories to include remote control panels and network controllers with software applications. Since you can only run HDMI cables short distances, you may need professional video extenders and repeaters to run longer distances with Cat 5/6/7 or fiber cables.
A switch box is a simple video switcher you can use to change between different input sources. HDMI switch boxes allow you to hook up your cable box, gaming console, or laptop and switch between them with a button selector, and then output that to your TV. Audio switch boxes serve the same purpose, letting you select from multiple audio sources to output to an amplifier or audio receiver.
If you're looking for professional video routers and switchers for your next live event production or audiovisual installation, B&H Photo and Video has the perfect gear for you.